Ivan has spent nearly 30 years helping to make the world a safer place. During this time he worked extensively in Africa and the Middle East and developed a heart for the continent and its people. Not only that, Ivan’s father is from George, South Africa, so moving ‘home’ to Cape Town after he took a break from active service made sense. Ivan has visited so many countries that it is easier for him to say where he hasn’t been; perhaps this is why he loves exploring new places and overlanding in our trusty Land Rover Discovery 3. The British “hearts and minds” approach is one that he still uses and fits nicely with his philosophy that “it’s nice to be nice.”
Jen is from Arizona in the United States but moved to California after she completed her university degree. All of her work has been in the nonprofit field in fundraising, event and program management, operations and marketing. Most notably, she worked with Habitat for Humanity in the US and traveled to Thailand and El Salvador to help build homes for low-income families. She has also volunteered with numerous organizations dedicated to helping women and at-risk children. Jen is adventurous and loves to travel and experience different cultures. Even though she’s American, she sees Africa as home.
Ivan and Jen met in Cape Town in 2012 while Jen was volunteering at a nonprofit law office in Rondebosch. After several conversations and keeping in touch after Jen went back to the states, they met up again at the end of 2012 and decided to backpack from Cape Town to Europe in 2013. After traveling by foot across the African continent, they realized that they wanted to continue their journey together permanently. In 2014, Edmund was born and Alandria came along in 2017.
Edmund is 4-years-old and loves going for drives in the Landy and has already participated in a Defender Trophy in Limpopo with his dad. He can identify most safari animals and frequently asks to go see them having been on numerous game drives in South Africa and Namibia. His favorites are elephants, lions, and cheetahs. Edmund is also becoming skilled at off-road driving and practices using a winch and letting his tires down with his toy cars; he even tells dad when it’s time to use low range, difflock while off-road.
Alandria (AKA Landi), may be the youngest Cooper explorer, but she’s already been to Namibia when mom was pregnant and the US and Netherlands. She also holds the title of the youngest ever Bull Run participant and charms everyone she meets. Landi’s name has a special meaning and, of course, it has to do with Land Rover. When her mom was just five months pregnant with her she was driving their then Discovery 2 and got into a very bad accident, rolling the car three times. Thankfully, all three passengers, Jen, Edmund, and unborn Landi were all okay, although the car was totaled. Since Ivan and Jen hadn’t picked out a name yet for their daughter, they decided to choose a name that paid tribute to the car that saved her life. After much sleuthing they found Alandria, which was easily shortened to Landi. Her parents fully expect her to love adventure and Land Rovers like her brother.